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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Is ‘Lisa Frankenstein’ a Franken-hit?

Universal’s new horror rom-com
Fair+use+from+Focus+Features
Fair use from Focus Features

On Feb. 9, Universal Pictures released its new horror comedy “Lisa Frankenstein” starring Katherine Newton and Cole Sprouse. Directed by Zelda Williams and written by Diablo Cody, the film is coming out to mixed reviews.

“Lisa Frankenstein” follows the story of a 1980s teenage outcast Lisa Swallows (Katherine Newton), who meets a reanimated corpse, The Creature (Cole Sprouse). The two go on a murderous adventure, filled with romance and self discovery, to find The Creature new body parts.

The character of Lisa is a social pariah, which plays an important part in how her fellow high school peers treat her. In an attempt to make her character act like an outcast, Lisa’s reactions involve random noises and replies that don’t make sense in response to the other characters. She acts like she is trying to be as quirky as possible and not like she is simply a teen who doesn’t fit in with her peers. Katherine Newton’s acting comes across as very unnatural and makes her character extremely unlikable. Although, as her character develops throughout the film, she does tone down these traits, which makes her a much more bearable protagonist with more realistic acting.

Cole Sprouse’s character, The Creature, is very well portrayed. Cole Sprouse gave the character very unnatural movements that resembles the way a decomposed corpse would walk. The Creature goes through many “fish out of water” moments that utilize a lot of slapstick humor, in which many of these jokes fell flat. The Creature has very strong, romantic feelings for Lisa. He struggles to express these feelings and they often come out through acts of jealousy — leading to some very funny moments that I did thoroughly enjoy. His acts of jealousy also added to a lot of the horror elements in the film and drove a lot of the plot.

The other characters are mostly one-dimensional, with the only exception being Lisa’s stepsister, Taffy (Liza Soberano). Taffy has complex feelings and realistic acting, which I can’t say the same for for the rest of the cast. The rest of the characters are based off of 80s movie tropes — I don’t believe this was a good decision. The filmmakers used the stereotypical characters for some of the humor, but that made a lot of the characters come across as annoying to the audience.

The atmosphere had a very nostalgic 80s vibe, which was shown through the costumes. All of the characters had fun, 80s inspired costumes, but my favorite costumes were Lisa’s. As Lisa gains more confidence over the course of the movie, her costumes reflect that. Her outfits incorporate more black, become more extravagant, and they have pretty lace details and all around beautifully replicate 80s gothic fashion. The costumes are one of my favorite aspects of the film and I highly commend the costume designer, Meagan McLaughlin.

The cinematography is very well done. At the beginning, character interactions are filmed with up close shots of single characters speaking. This style feels very awkward, but it helps show how socially awkward Lisa’s interactions are. This decision feels very intentional and well executed. A lot of the movie contains dreamy, almost psychedelic looking scenes. This aesthetic was achieved through the backgrounds and the coloring of certain shots. Not only were these scenes very pretty and visually appealing, but they fit the supernatural magic aspect of the film.

The soundtrack was a major highlight of “Lisa Frankenstein.” The songs contain many gothic rock hits from the 80s such as “Heaven Knows” by The Flatmates and “Wave of Mutilation” by Pixies. These songs wonderfully fit the alternative 80s vibe and Lisa’s personality.

Overall, I’d recommend giving “Lisa Frankenstein” a watch. Despite the poorly written characters, I really enjoyed the movie. It had well designed costumes, was quite funny and visually interesting. It showed a lot of craftsmanship and was worth the 1 hour and 41 minutes.

“Lisa Frankenstein”: ★★★★☆

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About the Contributor
Rackam Walberg, Echo Staffer
 Hi, my name is Rackam Walberg. I am a sophomore and this is my first year in Echo. Other than writing and photography, I love to draw and read. I also enjoy hiking, listening to music, and watching horror movies. I’m really excited to be in Echo this year!

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